On Wednesday, North Carolina approved a bill that requires women to wait 72 hours before undergoing an abortion procedure. Gov. Pat McCrory announced that he would support the bill and sign it into law as soon as it reaches his office.
Bill supporters said that the new regulation would buy some extra time that may help pregnant women rethink their options and make an informed decision. They also hope that the new rules would lead to fewer abortions across the state as women will have time to change their mind.
According to the new provisions, women looking for an abortion must first talk to a doctor or other specially trained professional unless the procedure is absolutely necessary to save the mothers’ lives.
In the U.S., only three other states have a 72-hour wait time: Utah, South Dakota and Missouri, while Oklahoma promised to adopt a similar measure this fall.
The Republican-backed bill set additional rules for doctors and health care facilities as well.
Democrats criticized the measure for lacking medical basis. They also argued that Republicans were only trying to make it harder for women to get access to a procedure that is protected by state’s constitution.
But since 2011, when GOP gained majority in state’s legislature, other abortion-limiting bills had been passed such as the current 24-hour wait time. And due to those bills, North Carolina saw a 26 percent decline in the total number of abortions over the last five years.
The new bill also asks doctors to report certain data to state regulators on second-term abortions, while the facilities that offer abortion-related medical services should expect annual inspections.
The bill’s provisions also contain an expanded definition of statutory rape, the location other states’ rapists should avoid when coming to North Carolina and vital changes to child support measures.
Pro-lifers lauded bill’s passage because they now hope that women would receive extra protection, while the lives of more unborn children would be saved. But while anti-abortionists urge the governor to sign the bill into law, critics want him to stand by his 2012 promise that he would not sign other abortion limiting laws.
Gov. McCrory, however, believes that the new rules won’t restrict access to abortions.
Planned Parenthood threatened that it would flood the governor’s office with thousands of petitions asking a veto on the bill. Alison Kiser from Planned Parenthood South Atlantic reminded him that backpedaling on his 2012 promise would betray his voters’ trust.
Image Source: Aljazeera America
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